Corporate

Brunswick Electric Transmission Project

Dominion announced on February 28, 2012, that it planned to invest more than $1 billion to build the Brunswick County Power Station, a combined-cycle, natural gas-fired facility in Brunswick County. The company received permission from the Virginia State Corporation Commission on Aug. 2, 2013, to construct the 1,358-megawatt, natural gas fueled power station near Lawrenceville in Brunswick County.

In order to connect this new power station to the electrical grid, Dominion has proposed two new electric transmission lines and a new switching station along its existing Carson-Clover transmission line, located just north of Interstate 85. Dominion filed an application with the SCC on November 2, 2012 which describes proposed and alternate routes for the new transmission lines (see below). The SCC on Aug. 2, 2013, also approved a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for transmission interconnection facilities needed to tie the station to the grid.

Project Details

Maps
Photo Simulations

Below are three preliminary photo simulations (more are under development). For each viewpoint the first page shows the existing view, the second page illustrates the view after the new transmission line is constructed. These are preliminary simulations, subject to final engineering.

Need for the Project

PJM is the organization that plans transmission expansion improvements to the regional generation and transmission system to maintain grid reliability and relieve congestion in Virginia, Washington D.C., and 12 other states. In May 2012, PJM issued the Generator Interconnection System Impact Study Report for the Brunswick County Power Station. The required Direct Connection Network Upgrades listed on page 9 of this study detail need for two (2) new 500,000 volt (500kV) lines and a switching station in Brunswick County.

Note, the PJM study estimates do not include the feasibility, cost, or time required to obtain property rights and permits for construction of the required facilities. PJM’s recommendation and approval of regional transmission improvements, including Dominion’s proposed Brunswick Electric Transmission Project, is separate and independent from the state approval process necessary to construct facilities in Virginia. In November 2012, Dominion submitted an application with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for these facilities. This was approved by the SCC on Aug. 2, 2013.

Project Description

New electric transmission facilities required in order to connect the Brunswick County Power Station to the grid: 

  • New double-circuit 500kV line south/east of power station tapping the existing Carson-Wake 570 Line (approximately 5 miles long)
  • New single-circuit 500kV line north/west of power station connecting to the existing Carson-Clover 556 Line (approximately 14 miles long)
  • New switching station facility along the Carson-Clover 556 Line

Dominion identified a "study area" to develop proposed routes for new transmission lines to the north and east of the power station. An analysis of environmental and cultural resources was completed, and residential areas were identified within the study area. All property owners within this study area were mailed notifications which explained the need for the new electrical facilities and provided information for ways to provided feedback, including, but not limited to, attendance at public open house meetings held in July and August 2012. Dominion reached out to state and local environmental and land use agencies to identify any local land use constraints that may be located within the study area. After assessing these and other factors, Dominion developed several routes that were intended to mitigate impacts on the features identified within the study area. Dominion filed an application with the SCC application on November 2, 2012 which describes Proposed and Alternate routes, see below. Ultimately the SCC will determine the location of the final, approved routes.

Project Timeline
  • July 2012 – Initiated community outreach; hosted first open house on 7/19/12.
  • August 2012 – Continued community outreach, displayed viable route alternatives at second open house on 8/14/12.
  • November 2, 2012 – Filed application with Virginia SCC.
  • Fall 2013 – Pending approval, begin pre-construction activities along SCC approved routes.
  • Spring 2015 – Energize electric transmission facilities.
SCC Application and Approval Process

The State Corporation Commission (SCC) is responsible for determining the need, route and environmental impact of transmission lines at 138 kV and above in Virginia.

View documents related to Case Number PUE-2012-00128 as presented on the SCC web site. In addition, interested parties may also comment directly to the SCC by sending an email to sccinfo@scc.virginia.gov.

Dominion filed an application with the SCC on November 2, 2012. On December 12, 2012 the SCC issued an Order of Notice and Hearing. A public hearing on the Application shall be convened on April 24, 2013, at 10 a.m., in the Commission's Courtroom, Second Floor, Tyler Building, 1300 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219.

To learn more about this process, view our SCC process map.

Contact Us

Contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Brunswick Electric Transmission Project.

Questions and Answers

Will Dominion require additional right-of-way?

Yes, both of the new electric transmission lines will require new right-of-way. When a need is presented to build or modify electric transmission facilities, Dominion first attempts to locate the facilities within an existing right-of-way corridor. However, such as with the Brunswick Electric Transmission Project, a new transmission line will at times require the acquisition of new right-of-way. State law authorizes public service corporations, like Dominion, to acquire real estate needed for its utility projects.

What is the process for Dominion to obtain right-of-way needed for a transmission line project?

Once a route has been determined and a Final Order has been issued by the Virginia State Corporation Commission, Dominion will typically move forward with the right-of-way acquisition process by first inspecting/surveying the route to determine the exact amount of real estate needed for the project, and  then offering financial compensation to the property owner(s) of record based on third party appraisals.  Once an agreement is reached between Dominion and the landowner(s) a right-of-way agreement is signed by the landowner whereby an easement for the right-of-way is granted to Dominion in exchange for the agreed upon compensation.  Dominion then records the executed right-of-way agreement at the appropriate county courthouse.

Do property owners still own the land after Dominion obtains an easement for the right-of-way?

Yes. Right-of-way agreements provide Dominion with a specified set of rights needed to construct, operate and maintain electric facilities across the landowner’s property within the boundaries of the right-of-way. The landowner still owns the property and can undertake certain activities within the right-of-way that do not conflict with the rights granted to Dominion. Visit the Right-of-Way Use page to learn more.

Why does Dominion need to build new transmission lines to the proposed Brunswick Plant?

All new generation facilities must be connected to the transmission system in such a manner that it satisfies the federally mandated reliability requirements of NERC Reliability Corporation.  Dominion, PJM and Progress Energy (Affected North Carolina Utility) analyzed the reliability impacts of interconnecting the proposed new Brunswick County Power Station with the transmission and determined that this was the most effective arrangement (reliability and cost) to interconnect the proposed plant with the transmission system.

Why do three lines need to be built instead of two?

If only two lines are built the proposed generating plants output can’t be reliably delivered to the transmission system and thus to Dominion’s customers. Specifically, if only two lines are built the output of the plant would overload transmission facilities in Progress Energy’s Transmission System which is a violation of NERC Reliability Criteria.

What is a "switching station?"

A switching station is an unmanned, fenced electrical transmission facility that houses equipment allowing operators to control electric voltage. As in the case of the Brunswick Electric Transmission Project, a new switching station will need to be sited and built under the existing Carson-Clover transmission line, located just north of Interstate 85. The incoming and outgoing power lines will remain at 500kV as there will be no transformer located at this facility.

Unlike transmission lines where Dominion obtains easement rights from property owners, a switching station facility is often sited on property Dominion purchases and owns in fee.

What is the electric transmission grid and how does it serve local customers and electric cooperatives?

The electric grid is the network of power lines that carries electricity from power plants to residential, industrial and commercial customers. To work effectively, electricity must at all times flow safely and reliably throughout the grid so the power is available when needed. Aging infrastructure, combined with a rise in domestic electricity consumption, has forced experts to critically examine the status and health of the nation's electrical systems. A ten-part series of stories from National Public Radio has been published on NPR.org, examining the costs, the politics and other challenges of upgrading the country's electricity grid. Learn how the electric grid operates and how power gets to your home.

What will be the environmental impact of construction of the line?

As part of our regulatory applications, Dominion completes an evaluation of potential environmental, cultural, and historical impacts of the project. Dominion works with many local and state agencies to complete these evaluations and mitigate impacts. The company also submits annual Erosion and Sedimentation (E&S) Control Specifications for the construction and maintenance of transmission lines to the appropriate conservation department in Virginia for review and approval. This project will be submitted for approval prior to construction. Our contractors receive copies of the E&S specifications and additional permit conditions prior to construction and are directed to meet regulatory requirements. The right-of-way will be rehabilitated when construction is complete.

Should I be concerned about Electric and Magnetic Fields?

Dominion is sensitive to public concern about possible health effects from exposure to electric and magnetic fields (EMF). Dominion includes data on the levels of both electric and magnetic fields produced by proposed facilities in all applications submitted with the SCC. We continually monitor EMF research and speak to our customers and employees regularly to share the latest information available.

The Virginia SCC, which regulates the construction and operation of electric transmission lines of 138kV and above, considers EMF in every application. Hearing Examiner’s remarks from recent proceedings are below.

  • March 23, 2009 Beaumeade-NIVO (Case Number PUE-2008-00063) Report of Michael D. Thomas, Hearing Examiner concludes that "...electric transmission line electromagnetic fields do not represent a human health hazard."
  • May 4, 2010 Hayes-Yorktown (Case Number PUE-2009-00049) Report of Deborah V. Ellenberg, Chief Hearing Examiner, states, "I find that EMF has not been identified as a carcinogen for human beings despite extensive study over many years, and there is, therefore, no basis on which to prohibit the Company from authorizing appropriate uses of its right-of-way."
  • August 23, 2011 Hollymead (Case Number PUE-2011-00015) Report of Michael D. Thomas, Hearing Examiner, states, "The proposed facilities do not represent a hazard to human health, which finding is consistent with the Virginia Department of Health's report entitled Monitoring of Ongoing Research on the Health Effects of High Voltage Transmission Lines (Final Report) dated October 31, 2000."

The Virginia Department of Health in its final report evaluating EMF research concluded:

"Based on the review and analysis of the exhaustive literature review and other research projects completed under the EMF-RAPID program, the Virginia Department of Health is of the opinion that there is no conclusive and convincing evidence that exposure to extremely low frequency EMF emanated from nearby high voltage transmission lines is causally associated with an increased incidence of cancer or other detrimental health effects in humans. Even if it is assumed that there is an increased risk of cancer as implied in some epidemiologic studies, the empirical relative risk appears to be fairly small in magnitude and the observed association appears to be tenuous. The studies published in the literature lack clear demonstration of a cause and effect relationship as well as a definitive dose-response gradient."

International scientific agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2007 and the European Commission’s European Health Risk Assessment Network on Electromagnetic Fields Exposure in 2010, have sponsored reviews of EMF research and reached similar conclusions. While the conclusions of these reviews are reassuring, Dominion strives to site and design its facilities in ways that minimize EMF levels while balancing environmental, aesthetic, and cost factors.  This approach is consistent with recommendations of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the WHO.

Additional information:

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